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Avalanche Free Agency

Josh Manson Back With Avalanche, Helm Too

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Josh Manson
David Zalubowski/AP

Well, I just got a nice text from a good source: Josh Manson has re-signed with the Colorado Avalanche. It’s incredible how fast breaking news becomes…old in today’s Twitter world. I thought I had an exclusive, but some others must have gotten the same text – and no, it wasn’t from the team.

But the news is true: Josh Manson, back on a long-term deal. And it came in cheaper than I expected too: four years, $4.5 million cap hit. That’s a great signing right there.

By the way, Darren Helm was also just re-signed: one year, $1.25 million. Same deal as Andrew Cogliano. That Avalanche fourth line is going to be a force again this coming season.

The day is not over yet friends. The Avalanche cap space is being eaten up pretty quickly, and there is still Nazem Kadri to consider. I reported earlier that the sides were still talking, but don’t know which way this is going to go.

The fact that the Avalanche is still working on it is a good sign, or usually is anyway. We haven’t mentioned Nico Sturm by the way. It would seem like he’s leaving, along with Andre Burakovsky, but nothing’s done til it’s done.

But, for me, the Manson signing is big. He made a real difference on the blue line and the Avalanche need that physical element to stay a top team. They’ve got it for the next four years with Manson, at a relatively nice cost of $18 million.

From the Avs’ release:

Manson, 30, recorded seven points (2g/5a) in 22 games with the Avalanche after being acquired from Anaheim on March 14. His 63 hits following the trade almost doubled the next closest teammate during that time span, and he tied his single-game career high with 10 hits in his Avalanche debut on March 15 at Los Angeles. Manson combined for 16 points (6g/10a) in 67 contests with Colorado and the Ducks, with his six combined goals the second most of his career (seven in 2017-18).

In the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Manson tallied career highs in goals (3), assists (5) and points (8), ranking third among Avalanche defensemen in goals and fourth in points. He scored the overtime winner for his first career playoff goal in Game 1 of Colorado’s second-round series vs. St. Louis on May 17.

“Josh was a huge addition to our back end down the stretch and into the playoffs,” said Avalanche General Manager Chris MacFarland.  “He played big minutes on our second pairing throughout the postseason, providing a tough, steady presence in the defensive zone while also contributing on the offensive end with some key goals. Getting him under contract for the next four years helps further solidify our blue line.”

Selected by Anaheim in the sixth round (160th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Manson has totaled 120 points (28g/92a) in 475 career contests with the Avs and Ducks. He has appeared in 42 total Stanley Cup Playoff contests, recording 11 points (3g/8a), helping Anaheim reach the Western Conference Final in 2017 and the Avalanche capture the 2022 Stanley Cup championship.

Manson left Anaheim ranked fifth all-time among franchise defensemen in games played (453) and third in plus/minus rating (+39), while his 87 assists and 113 points are ninth all-time among Anaheim blueliners. The Hinsdale, Ill., native is Anaheim’s franchise leader among defensemen in hits (1,083) and ranks second among all Ducks skaters — only Ryan Getzlaf (1,980) has more.

Manson posted the second-best plus/minus rating in franchise history with a +34 in 2017-18, trailing only Paul Kariya’s +36 rating from 1996-97, while also establishing career highs in points (37), goals (7), game-winning goals (2), assists (30) and blocked shots (99).

Manson played parts of two seasons with the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League from 2013-15, totaling 13 points (4g/9a) in 45 contests while adding one point (1g/0a) in 10 Calder Cup Playoff outings.

Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound blueliner played three seasons at Northeastern University from 2011-14, collecting 21 points (6g/15a) with a +12 rating in 99 contests. He was named a Hockey East Second-Team All-Star and the league’s Best Defensive Defenseman after captaining Northeastern to a 19-14-4 record in 2013-14.

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